A survey of acute pain service structure and function in United States hospitals

Dawood Nasir, Jo E. Howard, Girish P. Joshi, Gary E. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Although the number of U.S. hospitals offering an acute pain service (APS) is increasing, the typical structure remains unknown. This survey was undertaken to describe the structure and function of the APS in U.S. hospitals only. We contacted 200 non-teaching and 101 teaching U.S. hospitals. The person in charge of postoperative pain management completed and returned the survey. Seventy-four percent of responding hospitals had an organized APS. An APS was significantly more formally organized in academic/teaching hospitals when compared to non-teaching hospitals. Pain assessments included "pain at rest" (97%), "pain on activity" (63%), and reassessment after pain therapy intervention (88.8%). Responding hospitals utilized postoperative pain protocols significantly more commonly in teaching hospitals when compared to non-teaching and VA hospitals. Intravenous patient controlled analgesia (IV-PCA) was managed most commonly by surgeons (75%), while epidural analgesia and peripheral nerve block infusions were exclusively managed by anesthesiologists. For improved analgesia, 62% allowed RNs to adjust the IV-PCA settings within set parameters, 43% allowed RN adjustment of epidural infusion rates, and 21% allowed RN adjustment of peripheral nerve catheter local anesthetic infusion rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number934932
JournalPain Research and Treatment
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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